As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains — Shiv Purana: 09
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Shiva forgives Brahma for the untruth he utters but does not spare Ketaki who testifies wrongly, what Brahma tells and later, they begin to worship Shiva…in the form of phallic and fiery column…one learns about the five-fold duty of the great lord…the meaning of Aum and the substance of five-syllable mantra…mode of worship…
Shiva is not happy with Brahma and so, he from the centre of brows gives birth to Bhairva to suppress Brahma and his pride, Nandi continues the tale. Now, Bhairva wants directions. He asks him to teach a lesson to Brahma. Bhairva holds tufts of fifth head of Brahma and picks up a sword to cut it asunder. Brahma trembles and falls at Bhairva’s feet and beseeches mercy whereas Vishnu bows and seeks forgiveness for Brahma and so, the lord asks Bhairva not to punish Brahma. Lord does not forgive but tells Brahma that nobody will honour or worship him henceforth. Brahma expresses gratitude for the generosity. Fear of the king is necessary for administration, the lord tells. However, he blesses Brahma with the privilege of being the presiding deity in various kinds of sacrifices or else offerings will be futile. He also excludes Ketaki from use in any act of worship.
Ketaki pleads for forgiveness for the sin he commits. Lord tells he will not wear him but all others shall make use of him and thus, he blesses Ketaki, Brahma and Vishnu.
Brahma and Vishnu stand on the left and right side of the great lord with folded hands as a mark of reverence. Later, the lords install the great lord and family, and worship, and thereafter, offer sacred and precious gifts in personal possession – ornaments, gold, jewels, flowers etc. including other things of divine qualities, which are even inaccessible to animals. Lord is happy and he offers gifts to attendants as per status and standing even while Brahma and Vishnu stand before Sankara – lord Shiva with intense devotion. Lord is happy with adoration, eulogies of Brahma and Vishnu, and calls that day Shivaratri. In future if a man (the devotee) celebrates the day properly, prays and worships phallic and embodied image of the great lord on Shivaratri he is fit to perform the work of great creation with a pure heart and so he emphasises the significance of Shivaratri. Lord tells that he manifests ‘the self’ in the form of pillar of fire in November-December and so a devotee, who sees the lord with Uma and worships, he is dear to him. Later, the place is called Lingasthana and this place of holy lingam and the infinite column of fire will become famous as mountain Ruddy – Aruna.
He, who prays and worships at this sacred place, attains salvation, the lord tells. Later, the lord gives life to the dead, who had sacrificed their lives in the great battle and advises the lords to abandon any dark thought of enmity, and tells he manifests in two forms – the fiery pillar and embodied form, and so are Isattva – the essence of great lord. He advises the lords to cast off ignorance and pride because none else is Iswara, know that he only illuminates the entire universe, and blesses all.
Brahma and Vishnu understand the all-pervasive influence of the great lord and now request the lord to expound the nature of five-fold duty. The five sacred duties, the lord tells, are – creation called sarga, maintenance and sustenance is sthiti, annihilation is samhara or destruction, concealment or elimination is tirobhava and blessing is liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
The lord tells that he enjoys the above prerogatives and rights. The first four activities pertain to evolution of the universe and the last one is cause of deliverance. One finds the five elements in Earth – sarga, Water- preservation, Fire-destruction, Wind – camouflage or elimination, and Liberation – anugraha, the blissful state. The elements are symbols of creation, nourishment, urge or source of thrust to activity, removal or purging even while the firmament-lord blesses all. He further explains that he takes care of the world and its fivefold activity through four faces in four quarters or directions and the fifth in the middle.
Lord tells that you do the work of creation and preservation and so the blessings to both. Annihilation and elimination is the activity of Rudra and Mahesa. However, liberation is lord’s task. Failure to meditate on the lord results in delusion, ignorance and false pride. It is better, in future, if Brahma and Vishnu begin to chant mantra Omkara, which is identical with the lord, for that kills pride, arrogance etc. Remember, the lord tells – A originates from northern face, U from western, M from southern and Bindu the dot from eastern face. The mystical sounds of Om – Nada comes out from the middle and these express Om syllable.
Nama and rupa infuse mantra, it symbolises Shiva and Shakti, and from this, the five-syllable mantra takes birth. Mantra is origin of the Vedas and many mantras, and through proper japa of mantra, one attains the objective. Omkara alone is the path to enjoyment, destination and liberation.
Brahma and Vishnu are overwhelmed and eulogise the divine virtues of the great lord, who is formless, illumination, soul of everything and gets absolute statement of clarity through Pranava. He is the lord of creation and five faces, and is Panchbrahma, the lord of five-fold functions, the great Atman and Brahma of manifold characteristics, and the great preceptor, and so they bow before the great lord.
The lord asks the gods to undertake japa regularly of Om mantra as goddess directs, for it is identical with the lord. For seekers of moksa worship of embodied form is good and for devotees of phallic form, the lingam image is very good for worship. To attain lord’s sphere, it is good to establish lingam with the chant of Omkara mantra and personified form with the five-syllable mantra and then, after guiding the two great lords, the supreme lord disappears.
Later, when the sage questions, monk Suta tells how to set up lingam or phallic form of Shiva, and worship, and also speaks about the right time and place and about the nature of a devotee. Auspiciousness and aptness is essential. He tells about the virtues, qualities, size and dimensions of the sanctified place with full recognition of appropriate time. He discusses not only its size but also its material from which a devotee should make an emblem mobile or stationary.
Japa of five-syllable mantra is necessary during the time of situating the images and embodied form. Prayer, worship and japa of mantra depend upon the capacity of sadhaka. The monk defines sixteen types of services for worship and prayers before the mobile form of the great lord – invocation, proper seat, water offering, washing of feet, rinsing of mouth a rite, oil bath, offering of cloth, perfume, flowers, incense, lamps and food offering. Lastly, praying with waving lamps, betel leaves, obeisance each time and thereafter, the last one is mystical-religious discharge and conclusion of rituals is essential. Offering gifts of precious possessions for worship gives benefit, and a devotee gets access to the region of lord. Keep the lord in phallic form in mind and the devotee will get the reward, the monk tells. Japa of mantra is good for the devotees. Mantra Om ending with M purifies the mind.
Meditation requires japa of Omkara at the mental level or one can mutter or whisper. Each limb of mantra is effective in chant. Five-syllable mantra with the prefix Om – pranava gives the desired result and takes the devotee nearer to the district of Shiva. In fact, rites are important for the right prayer and worship to attain the right fruit. The great monk is specific about the japa of mantra and its blessing on the devotees. Number of repetition of mantra bestows fruit depending upon the purity of mind, heart the monk tells, and therefore, the devotee attains the regions of Brahma and Shiva. Japa of Gayatri and Vedic verses with some restraints is good and one attains Shiva’s region. Therefore, the monk explains in detail the attainment of fruit of japa or chant of mantra or five-syllable depending upon the genuineness of devotees.
For it bestows material joys and later, grants salvation to everyone and it is obvious that a man if resides in the temple of Shiva shall get deliverance. For a long time, he continues to enlighten devotees of Shiva and Shakti on the practice of prayer and worship and on the chanting of mantra, for its japa is a path to divine joy and ultimate salvation. In age of Kaliyuga, correct and truthful performance of acts, gives the right fruit. Now, the questions about the sacred places or temples arise where men and women can get lord’s region and again, monk Suta is ready to educate sages.
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